Washington County briefs

April 21, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

Public hearing on communications tower slated

A public hearing on a proposed South County emergency communications tower is set for May 10 at 7 p.m. at Pleasant Valley Elementary School along Md. 67, according to Washington County Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III.

The meeting will include a brief presentation about the need for the tower, and officials will accept public comments, Kroboth said. Photos from a balloon test showing potential tower sites will be displayed.

The tower would be the last and southernmost in a 10-tower system the county is building as part of a public safety communications network that will enable all police, fire and rescue agencies in the county to communicate with each other during emergencies.

Two years ago, the county got hundreds of e-mails from residents opposed to a proposed site for the tower at the intersection of Keep Tryst and Sandy Hook roads. Many were upset that residents were not allowed to speak at a public meeting about that site.


Since then, the county has turned its attention to three alternative sites almost a mile to the northwest, on private land off Miller Avenue near the base of Maryland Heights.

Employee health insurance contribution to increase

Washington County employees' contributions to health insurance will increase about $8 per month, or about 7 percent, next fiscal year under plans approved Tuesday by the Washington County Commissioners.

Providers for medical, dental, vision and prescription plans were recommended by CBIZ Benefits and Insurance Services Inc., the county's consultant, after a review of technical and price proposals from 14 companies, according to a report from CBIZ account executives Rebecca Mowen Lewis and Liz Logsdon.

The selected contracts will save the county $319,370, Lewis and Logsdon said.

Tri-State Health Partners/CareFirst Administrators of Hagerstown will be the medical provider, with Express Scripts of St. Louis, Mo., as prescription medicine administrator, with annual fees of $848,742.00, about 2.62 percent less than the incumbent's proposal.

Delta Dental of Mechanicsburg, Pa., will be the provider for dental, at a rate of $529,229 over two years, about $70,000 less than the nearest bidder, and National Vision Administrators LLC of Clifton, N.J., will provide the vision plan at a three-year cost of $113,844.

Housing Authority to receive additional federal funding

The Housing Authority of Washington County has been approved to receive an additional $130,000 in federal funding for a lease purchase program to help sell bank-owned properties, Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission fiscal specialist Susan M. Buchanan said Tuesday.

The additional grant funding is being reallocated to the county by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development due to missed deadlines or lack of performance by other intended recipients, Buchanan said. It comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The funding will allow the Housing Authority to purchase one additional foreclosed home to be renovated and turned over to one of its clients, EDC director Timothy R. Troxell said.

The Washington County Commissioners voted 4-1 to accept the additional funding. Commissioner William J. Wivell, who voted no, said he thought endeavors like the one supported by the grant should be undertaken by private industry.

County Commissioners recognize Crime Victims' Rights Week

The Washington County Commissioners recognized the rights of crime victims Tuesday with a proclamation declaring April 18 to 24 as Crime Victims' Rights Week in Washington County.

"A just nation acknowledges crime's impact on individuals, families and communities and ensures that victims are treated with fairness, dignity and respect as they interact with the criminal justice system," the proclamation said.

The week coincides with the National Crime Victims' Rights Week promoted by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.

As part of the week, the State's Attorney's Office is recognizing law enforcement officials and others throughout the week, Victims Rights Coordinator Jill Ritter said.

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